A two-day media strategy meeting was organized by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) in Collaboration with Women Radio 91.7FM and Women in Politics Forum (WiPF) with support from Australian Aid.
The strategy meeting was organized to engage the Media for maximum benefit as well as increase the coverage of women politicians and women issues during and after the 2019 General Elections. The strategy meeting also provided opportunity for women to learn new tips on engaging with the media.
The meeting featured panel discussions, practical sessions, sharing of experiences and lectures delivered by experienced female politicians and veteran journalists from broadcast, print and online media.
The following issues were identified as the main issues around media portrayal of female candidates in elections in Nigeria:
- That the Nigerian media has not been fair to female candidates on election matters as often times attention is paid to immaterial things about them rather than focus on the key issues around their electioneering campaigns.
- That the Nigerian media needs to seek out female candidates as much as they do for male candidates.
- That female candidates usually shy away from the media because of the focus on their private lives but the 2-day meeting is an avenue to ask female candidates to increasingly engage with the media.
At the end of the two-day meeting, the following recommendations were adopted as the way forward to have increased coverage of female candidates in elections.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE MEDIA
- Women have not recognized the power of media ownership as a strong tool to help them gain visibility and better their chances of winning political offices. Therefore, influential women, women organizations and women with financial resources in Nigeria should seek to establish media organizations which will better serve the interest of women in Nigeria.
- More women should be called to participate in the News and existing programmes in media houses to have them speak on topical issues.
- Media can help train women candidates for confidence building especially with regards to interview strategies
- More coverage for women candidates during elections by media organizations/editors should be encouraged.
RECOMMENDATION FOR WOMEN CANDIDATES
- Female politicians should make good use of free social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to enhance their visibility.
- They can also get visibility from organizing meaningful activities such as health care programmes, sports competitions, endorsements of social programmes and attend events to promote visibility and a positive image even after the election.
- Women politicians to engage the services of media professionals to guide them on appropriate media campaign strategies and how to engage the media for positive results.